Saturday, April 29, 2017

Ethics Chief: Some Trump Nominees Push Back On Ethics Rules With ‘Ferocity’

WASHINGTON ― Some of the Trump administration’s nominees have pushed back against the government’s ethics requirements with “a ferocity we’ve not previously seen,” Walter Shaub, the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, told a top White House lawyer in an email this week.

Shaub was responding to Reince Priebus, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, who, when asked on Fox News Wednesday why the White House has been slow to fill key positions, claimed that many nominees were “sitting and waiting for OGE.”

“That’s not the case,” Shaub wrote in an email sent to Stefan Passantino, the White House deputy counsel, on the same day, and subsequently obtained by HuffPost.

In addition to alleging pushback from some nominees, Shaub shared an OGE document illustrating that in its first 100 days, the Trump administration has lagged far behind the Obama administration in terms of sending nominee reports to OGE. The document also showed that OGE is clearing the reports for the Trump administration at a faster rate than it did during the Obama administration, even though these reports are more complex.

Shaub asked Passantino to share the document with Priebus “on the chance he is just misinformed.” (The White House did not respond to a request for comment for this article.)

Before the White House can fill senior-level jobs, it must send nominees’ financial disclosure reports to OGE and the applicable agency to ensure completeness, and to identify and resolve potential conflicts of interest consistent with ethics laws.  Read full story here 

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